Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians

#69, September 8, 2000.


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Guru Interviews

  1. Tara Calishain
  2. Jenny Levine, part I
  3. Jenny Levine, Part II
  4. Reva Basch
  5. Sue Feldman
  6. Jessamyn West
  7. Debbie Abilock
  8. Kathy Schrock
  9. Greg Notess
  10. William Hann
  11. Chris Sherman
  12. Gary Price
  13. Barbara Quint

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Wanna See Your Name in Lights?

Or at least on this page, anyway? I'd like to print here your contributions as well as mine. As you've noticed, articles are brief, somewhere between 200 and 500 words -- something to jog people's minds and get their own good ideas flowing. I'd also be happy to run other people's contributions to the regular features like Favorite Sites on _____. I'll pay you the same rate I pay me: nothing.

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E-Mail Subscription?

To subscribe to a combined subscription to Neat New Stuff and ExLibris, please click HERE, complete the form, and click on "subscribe." To unsubscribe, use the same form but click on "unsubscribe." To change addresses for an existing subscription, unsubscribe from that form and then return to the page to enter the new address.
PRIVACY POLICY: I don't collect or reveal information about subscribers.

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Drop me a Line

Want to comment, ask questions, submit articles, or invite me to speak or do some training? Contact me at: marylaine at

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Talk Back

Where I will post any comments you want to make public. E-mail me and use the words "talk back" in your subject line.

Visit My Other Sites

My page on all things book-related. NEW STUFF ADDED in August

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Best Information on the Net
The directory I built for O'Keefe Library, St. Ambrose University, still my favorite pit stop on the information highway.

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My Word's Worth
a weekly column on books, words, libraries, American culture, and whatever happens to interest me.

Subject Index to My Word's Worth at

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My personal page

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SUBJECT INDEX to Past Issues

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Neat New Stuff I Found This Week
August 25: polls, science answers, great road food, and more.

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My resume
Or why you might want to hire me for speaking engagements or workshops.

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What IS Ex Libris?

The purpose and intended scope of this e-zine -- always keeping in mind that in response to readers, I may add, subtract, and change features.

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Highlights from Previous Issues:

My Favorite Sites on___:

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My Rules of Information

  1. Go where it is
  2. The answer depends on the question
  3. Research is a multi-stage process
  4. Ask a Librarian
  5. Information is meaningless until queried by human intelligence


The Washington Post printed an article on August 10 about the fact that women now represent 50.4 percent of net users. And what do women do on the net? According to this article, we go shopping. We gossip. We moon over celebrities.

I sent an outraged letter to the Post, telling them I'd like to introduce these reporters to Carole Leita, goddess of the internet ( Also to Margaret Vail Anderson, the Digital Librarian (, Tara Calishain, creator of Research Buzz (, Susan Calcari, director of The Scout Report project (, the numerous women serving as expert guides at and Suite 101, and all the other remarkable women who do not simply surf the net but tame it, identifying high quality sites, organizing them, and making them accessible to befuddled end users.

I'd like them to meet the many women who use the net for teaching. That includes scholars like Dr. Catherine Lavender of the College of Staten Island, a historian who has found and organized a thorough collection of "primary and secondary documents, biographical and bibliographical resources, lists of hot links to other sites of interest, and images" on the history of the west, WestWeb ( It includes school librarian Kathy Schrock, who created the most widely used Guide for Educators (, and neatly organized it by age level and curriculum, and school librarian Debbie Abilock who teaches not just her own students but the whole world's students how to do good research on the web ( It includes the many mothers who use the net as a resource for home schooling, and the women like Belinda Augustus who create sites like her Home Schooling Daily ( to help them.

I'd like to introduce the authors to women who have started businesses online, following the classic internet business model of giving away free content on the net. Including me -- these pages, after all, promote my business as a writer, speaker and trainer. Women have especially profited from the ability the net offers them to stay home and raise their family while marketing their work to a worldwide audience.

These reporters need to meet women who build home pages for their organizations -- libraries, government agencies, professional and philanthropic associations, and women who build web sites to share information on common interests like pregnancy, childrearing, books for children, travel opportunities, etc.

They need to understand that women in the library and teaching professions are on the front line of the fight against censorship of the net.

Of course women do like to chat online, though I question whether they do so more than men, and whether their chat is anymore trivial than that of men in online sports discussions and Pamela Anderson chats. These reporters should listen in on groups where professional women network, offer advice, and exchange information. They should visit discussion groups where cancer survivors offer advice and comfort to the newly diagnosed, and check out groups like SisterList, where women discuss issues of spirituality and the religious life.

NONE of these kinds of uses appeared in the Washington Post article. I reject absolutely this article's suggestion that women's use of the net is frivolous and trivial. Like men, we use the net for reasons that are both frivolous and serious. Like men, we have made valuable work available on the net, and we have done much to civilize it.

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PattersonSmith ) says "Everyone should know about Asia Source (, 'a Resource of the Asia Society' that features articles for Arts and Society, Business and Economics, Policy and Government and Society and History. They also have great section on Asian book reviews. The Republic of China Government Information Office ( offers very complete information on Taiwanese culture as well as visitor information resources."

Jo Summers () offers another set of Australian sites:

  • Australian Museums Online
    A searchable database designed to help Australian museums and galleries make information about their collections available to a world-wide audience

  • Australian Stock Exchange
    This site provides detailed information about the various investments ASX has available for trading, including market statistics, company research, floats, a glossary and lots more

  • Australian Daily (News)
    News from major Australian and New Zealand sources ... general news, business, environment, politics, sports, etc.

  • City Search Australia
    Browse or search for events and places to eat, drink and explore in NSW (Canberra, Sydney) or Victoria (Melbourne)

  • EarthLink (Environment)
    An environmental directory designed to educate and encourage people to use their spending and investing power to bring about increased social justice and environmental responsibility

  • Federal Government of Australia
    Access to all Commonwealth authorised information and services including Hansard, media releases and Ministers' contact details

  • Gardens Online
    Browse or search one of the largest collections of plant information and photos anywhere in the world and, if you choose, purchase directly from the largest source of online garden related products anywhere in Australia

  • Health Network
    An Australian and New Zealand resource which allows you to browse or seach for health and medical information, organisations and latest research

  • OzLit (Literature)
    More than 500 pages of Australian Literary information as well as more than 1100 entries in a searchable "Books and Writers" database

  • SEEK (Employment and Careers)
    Australia's best Internet jobs classified Web site; entirely Australian owned and operated, independent of other media companies and the recruitment industry

  • Seniors Portal
    A starting point for seniors to learn how easy and fun the Net is to use, and how it can be used to their advantage in their everyday lives

  • Social Issues
    Annotated directory of Web sites dealing with abortion, family planning, drugs of addiction, HIV and AIDS, homelessness, relationships resources and advice, sexual health and education, suicide, domestic violence, incest and sexual assault

  • Sports
    This regularly updated page provides links to both popular and less well-known team/individual sports and associations

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    Jim Burke. I Hear America Reading. Heinemann, 1999.

    One of my readers, Jim Burke, was good enough to send me his book which he was sure I would like. He was correct. A high school teacher trying to get through to students who looked on reading as a chore and a curse, he sent a letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle asking readers to write to his students about their experiences with books, telling them what books, and why, have mattered to them in their lives. He received some 400 letters, from people from all walks of life: ESL students, children, a park ranger, an army private, a helicopter pilot, a prisoner, an insurance salesman, a historian, several writers, and many more.

    Their reasons for falling in love with reading were as varied as our own. For the sense that the world is wider than we knew, and that we need not limitourselves to the ideas and minds available in our own small schools and towns. For the realization that our problems are not unique, that others have lived with them and surmounted them. For the special intimacy that comes from mind speaking directly to mind. For the memories of being cuddled and read to by people who love you. For the stretching of the imagination when your mind converts words into pictures, when you build your own Jane Eyre who is nothing like anyone else's Jane Eyre, when, in fact, you can BE Jane Eyre.

    Jim Burke's students were flabbergasted by the outpouring of response, amazed that so many people could be so moved by books. He kept those letters in plastic sleeves inside notebooks where his students could flip through them, think about them, decide to read some of the books that so affected these writers. This book, a small sampling of those letters, can serve the same purpose for other students not brought up on the magic of reading, and should have an honored place in classrooms and school libraries across the country.

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    Columnist Donald Kaul, aka OTC ("Over the Coffee") has written his last column (sob). In it he shared some principles to live by, and I trust he won't sue me for sharing some of them with you:

  • When both political parties agree on an idea, you can be pretty sure it's a bad idea.
  • The first widely accepted explanation of anything is generally wrong.
  • Politicians who promise to cut taxes generally aren't talking about your taxes.
  • Never mistake verbal clumsiness in a politician for sincerity.
  • The fact that life seems increasingly to imitate professional wrestling doesn't make it right.
  • The last place to look for wisdom is your television set.

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    You are welcome to copy and distribute or e-mail any of my own articles (but not those by my guest writers) as long as you retain this copyright statement:

    Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
    Copyright, Marylaine Block, 2000.